14/8/2015

Code for Africa get’s 4,7 million grant to extend data-driven projects

 

Enabling journalism which is driven by code, software and data. Keeping record. Providing means to compare for the public. Helping people to answer questions and provide more background. This, in very short, are the goals of "Code for Africa", founded roughly 3 years ago. 

The initiative aims to create simple, useful technology projects to provide a deeper level of information in African countries, ranging from health to development and elections. Examples of projects are sites providing background checks on doctors Kenya (in collaboration with The Star) or help for voters to register for elections

New funding from Gates Foundation

As of mid-August 2015 the initiative now has funding to extend this work: The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation will provide a grant of $4,7 million. New projects in the future will extend from data to drones and sensors for new options of coverage, reporting and record-keeping. In addition members of the Knight Fellowship program will be heading initiatives in a number of African countries, with support from the Jon S. and James L. Knight Foundation. 

Justin Arenstein, who is the chief strategist and had been the founder of the CfA initiative, describes the goals for the next three years in a blog entry, which accompanied the anouncement of the new grant: 

 "In many places, the media has lost touch with real people. Our aim is to make journalism relevant again to ordinary people. Journalism needs to tackle the issues that keep people awake at night: like how to keep your children safe, healthy, and educated. To do that, media organizations have to discover what their audiences really care about and then develop journalism that gives the audience actionable information.”

The initiative is already present in Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. According to the website "additional initiatives are being incubated, for launch in 2015/2016 in Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.

Who will be heading the projects in the given countries? 
Here is an excerpt from a post published via the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), providing more detail about the key people:

  • Chris Roper, a digital specialist and former editor-in-chief of South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, who will serve as the team’s data editor;
  • Stephen Abbott Pugh, a British digital journalist and project manager, who will design and supervise audience engagement strategies;
  • Babatunde Akpeji, a Nigerian multimedia journalist, who will head the project in Africa’s largest country;
  • Catherine Gicheru, a veteran Kenyan journalist and editor, who will drive the initiative in the East African nation; and
  • Raymond Joseph, a longtime South African editor, who will lead a new data journalism training program, or “cadet school,” in South Africa.

More background:

 

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